RESEARCHERS have identified sleep as an important factor in the development of kidney failure and have highlighted the long-term benefits of having a good night’s sleep. Research presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week, found that insomnia has potentially detrimental effects on kidney health. This is of particular importance when the statistics of chronic insomnia are considered; insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, 35.2% of adults in the USA are reported to have short sleep duration.
A team of researchers led by Dr Csaba Kovesdy and Dr Jun Ling Lu, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, studied the renal function and cause of mortality in a group of 957,587 veterans. All participants had normal kidney function at the start of the study. Within the cohort, 41,928 presented with chronic insomnia.
The patients were followed-up for a median of 6.1 years; 2.7% and 0.2% of individuals within the study period showed accelerated decline in kidney function and kidney failure, respectively. During the follow-up period, 23.1% of the veterans died. Chronic insomnia was found to be associated with a 1.4-fold higher risk of mortality, alongside a 1.5-fold higher risk of kidney function loss, and a 2.4-fold higher risk of total kidney failure.
In summary, these results highlight the importance of good quality sleep in the prevention of chronic kidney disease (CKD); poor quality sleep could leave affected individuals in need of dialysis or even kidney transplantation. Investigations into this condition are of particular importance due to the global prevalence of CKD; indeed, data from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases report that around 14% of the USA population have CKD. However, other more readily reported risk factors for CKD include obesity, diabetes, smoking, and hypertension.
“Attention to its proper management could have long-ranging positive effects,” said Dr Kovesdy regarding chronic insomnia, and suggests that it could potentially assist the prevention of other chronic conditions like CKD. The team appreciate that more in-depth research is needed into whether the treatment of chronic insomnia would be a preventative measure for conditions. “This hypothesis will need to be examined in dedicated prospective studies, including clinical trials” concluded Dr Kovesdy.